Coping with Splitting in Borderline Using Pictures of Sanity

June 25, 2024 Karen Mae Vister

Something I struggle with in my close relationships is splitting in borderline personality disorder (BPD). The closer I get to someone, the harder it hits when I feel disappointed or slighted by them. Whether this slight is real or imagined, I can't seem to keep my passive-aggressive thoughts and comments to myself. The borderline splitting episode takes over, and suddenly, everything is black or white, with no shades of gray in sight.

Splitting in BPD means my loved ones are either my everything or my worst nightmare. One moment, I'm overflowing with love and admiration for them, and the next, I'm drowning in disappointment and anger. It's an emotional whirlwind that leaves me exhausted, constantly swinging between extremes. I know it's tiring for those around me, too, but it's a relentless cycle that's hard to break.

For those unfamiliar with the term, splitting in BPD is a common defense mechanism. It involves viewing people, situations, and even oneself in extremes with little room for the complexities and nuances that usually characterize human behavior in relationships.1 I've found this black-and-white thinking causes rapid shifts in emotions and perceptions, leading to unstable relationships and a turbulent inner life. For me, splitting in BPD is a way to manage overwhelming emotions, but it often results in difficulty maintaining a consistent, balanced view of the world and people in it.

Splitting in Borderline: Anchoring Reality with Pictures

When I'm deep in the throes of splitting in BPD, my brain seems determined to turn my loved ones into monsters. It's during these moments that photos become my savior. Looking at pictures of us together feels like a splash of cold water, jolting me out of the nightmare. It's like those snapshots take me back to the moment they were taken, and I can feel the pure, unfiltered happiness again.

Photos are tangible reminders of the good times, the real moments that matter. They anchor me in reality when my mind tries to convince me otherwise. They're proof that the villains I see in my loved ones are just shadows, not the true essence of who they are. These images act as bridges, reconnecting me to the warmth and safety that gets lost when I'm splitting in BPD.

Voice notes or audio recordings are also helpful. Hearing their voices, such as the way they say my name, is like an instant reality check. It pulls me out of the spiral and back into the truth of our connection. These notes remind me that the trust we've built over time is real, not just a figment of my stressed-out imagination.

BPD and Splitting: How Visuals and Voices Restore Balance

While a hug can definitely soothe me, I've learned to step back when I'm not feeling calm or clear-headed around my loved ones. My phone is filled with visuals and voices that help me get centered before reconnecting. These photos and voice notes are like a self-care kit in times of crisis, and I use them like breadcrumbs guiding me out of the dark forest of my thoughts. They remind me of the trust we've built, cutting through the extremes my mind creates. It's not a quick fix, but they bring me back to a real, imperfect middle ground where I can find peace amid the storm of splitting in BPD.


  1. Chapman, J., Jamil, R. T., Fleisher, C., & Torrico, T. J. (2024, April 20). Borderline Personality disorder. StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf.

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2024, June 25). Coping with Splitting in Borderline Using Pictures of Sanity, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

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